We learn a lesson in faith from “The Jesus Boat.” Rewind to Mark 4:35-41. Jesus and His disciples are going to the “other side” of the lake by boat. In this story Mark includes the often-over-looked detail that “there were also other boats with him” (vs. 36). When the storm comes, it’s not just the Jesus boat that was nearly swamped, but all the other little boats, too. All the watercraft, and their occupants, were affected by the same storm.
The multiple pandemics attacking our planet right now have affected everyone. The church, the world, all of us are caught up in the same drama. From the perspective of those in the other boats caught in the storm, they had to be wondering what was happening in Jesus’ boat. Were those with Jesus as frightened as they were? It’s the same question being asked by the world about the church. Are the people in the “Jesus church” as frightened as everyone else? Are they panicking too?
If you’re going to stay in the Jesus boat, you’ve got to know Who is in control. After Jesus calms the storm, Mark says, “They were terrified and asked each other, ‘Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!’” (Vs. 41)
No matter how crazy things get, stay in the Jesus boat because He’s in control. We feel anxious and worried when we feel we’ve lost control. Newsflash: you were never in control. From Mark 4:35 to 5:43, Jesus establishes His authority over nature, demons, sickness, and even death. In each case, the people involved revealed they had no control of the situation.
- 5:4 – “No one was strong enough to subdue him.”
- 5:23 – “My little girl is dying.”
- 5:26 – “She had suffered a great deal…and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.”
- 5:35 – “Your daughter is dead…Why bother?” Jesus said to the girl’s father, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” (“Stay in the boat!”)
Even in Gethsemane, Jesus proves who is in control by simply identifying Himself and everyone falling to the ground. (See John 18:4-6.) Jesus is in control, and because He is, stay in the Jesus boat.
Secondly, to stay in the Jesus boat, stop worrying. Rewind to Luke 12:22-32. This admonition against worry comes right after the parable of the Rich Fool in verses 13-21. The meaning of the parable is stated in vs. 15: “A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” The rich fool was poor in the ways of God and he lost everything.
Therefore, Jesus says not to worry about your life—food, clothing, and shelter—and here’s why:
- Because you have value (vs. 24)
- Because worry doesn’t work (Vs. 25-26) Nothing is accomplished by worry so why do it? Little faith = Big worry. (vs. 27-28)
- Because you have a Father who provides everything you need (vs. 29-30). Stop behaving like an orphan or living like an unbeliever.
But what are you to do instead of worrying? “But seek his kingdom and these things will be given to you as well” (vs. 31). What does it mean to seek his kingdom? Here’s my definition of living kingdom life: “Doing the will of God with total trust in God, in complete submission to God, which produces the perfect peace of God.”
When you live like this, you have no reason to be afraid, because you have already received the kingdom (Vs. 32). “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.” He has already given us His Son. “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things” (Rom. 8:31, 32)? When you have Jesus you have everything. You’ve been given the kingdom, so stop living like an outsider. Stay in the Jesus boat.
Lastly, to stay in the Jesus boat, give thanks. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” Phil. 4:6-7.
This is the other substitute for anxiety (fear in advance): Thanksgiving. Give thanks for what?
- That God is in control.
- That you have value.
- That you have a heavenly Father
- That you’ve been given the kingdom
- That you don’t have to worry because you have Jesus in your boat!
And that reality brings peace. You can pray/praise this way about every circumstance you face. When others ask why you are so calm when everything is going to pieces around you, you can say, “Because I’m in the Jesus boat!”
The longer you stay in the Jesus boat, the more you develop the mind of Christ. See Philip. 4:8. You develop the mind of Christ as you meditate on, pray through, and put into practice the words and actions of Christ. And as you do, He will say, “Peace be still” to your troubled soul.
However crazy this world becomes, stay in the Jesus boat. “In this world,” Jesus said, “you will have tribulation, but cheer up, I have overcome the world. And I’m coming soon.” I’m staying in the boat, how about you?
Pastor Randy Maxwell